Protesters gather in Ferguson with signs, chants

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A huge crowd of people protesting the death of a black Missouri teenager shot by a white police officer have gathered in Ferguson, chanting and carrying signs.

The protests come as the Missouri State Highway Patrol is taking over supervising security in the St. Louis suburb amid criticisms of the police response.



Several people stopped to shake hands with police and troopers. Some have stopped to hug and chat with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Highway Patrol, who is overseeing security.

The scene stands in stark contrast clashes earlier this week when officers wore riot gear. Crowds have gathered since Saturday's shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

A photo tweeted by L.A. Times reporter Matt Pearce shows Missouri State Police troopers in normal uniforms among the protesters.

The mood Thursday is almost jubilant. A steady line of cars driving by the scene is honking and waving at the protesters.

Holder promises full investigation

Attorney General Eric Holder is promising the family of an unarmed black teenager shot by police in Missouri a full, independent civil rights investigation.Holder's promise came Thursday in a telephone call with the family of 18-year-old Michael Brown. A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that Holder spoke to the Brown family while they visited the U.S. attorney's office in Missouri.



The official was not authorized to be identified by name and requested anonymity to discuss Holder's call.

Holder expressed his personal condolences for Brown's death, and told his family that the Justice Department was investigating.

Brown was shot by a police officer on Saturday in Ferguson, Missouri. The St. Louis suburb is 70 percent black but is patrolled by a nearly all-white police force.

Rallies honor people who died at hands of police

Vigils have been held across the country for people who died at the hands of police.

People in more than 90 cities observed Thursday's National Moment of Silence. The vigils come in the wake of the shooting death of an 18-year-old man by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the death of a New York City man caused by a police officer's chokehold.

In New York, about a thousand people marched peacefully in Manhattan's Union Square. In Nevada, about 40 people gathered outside the federal courthouse in Reno.

Rallies were also scheduled for the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, near where Michael Brown was shot, and in Detroit and Los Angeles. People were asked to wear a red ribbon, cloth or bandanna in a show of solidarity.

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